Logic Pro From A to Z – H is for Hiding Groups
Hiding tracks in Logic Pro is nothing new. We all know the drill: hit the H button in the track header for tracks you want hidden, then use the key command H to show/hide all the hidden tracks. I use it a lot, but it isn’t the perfect solution for all situations. Sometimes you need to show/hide selected groups of tracks but not others.
Hidden deep in the bowels of Logic Pro is a solution for this – in fact an extremely elegant solution that is useful for managing large projects. Groups are traditionally used to link specific functions on selected tracks. Like automation, or volume, mutes, pan, record enable (one of my favs) etc. We think of assigning tracks to a group when we need to link some of these functions. But groups can also be used as a criteria for hiding tracks. And what is really elegant is that the ability to hide based on group membership can be used either in conjunction with other group based criteria, or all on its own with nothing else. In other words, it is simple to construct groups designed for nothing more than simply hiding the member tracks.
Here’s how you do it: Assign the desired tracks to an unused group. An then, well… actually… that’s it. There are absolutely no parameters in the group settings that are necessary to set if you are using the group solely for the purpose of toggling the show/hide status of it’s member tracks.
Hold on though, not so fast. When creating a new group, automation mode, volume, and pan, are enabled by default. I suggest disabling these defaults if all you want to use the groups for is hiding. That way you won’t get any unpleasant surprises when you try and adjust the volume or automation on one of the tracks.
Head on over to the Logic Pro X Key Commands window and type “toggle hide” in the search field. You will find nine unique key commands specifically for toggling the show/ hide status of the first nine groups. And in the US key commands preset, they even have default assignments already set up: ⌃ ⇧ 1 through 9. Invoking the key command will toggle the show/hide status of each of the first nine groups uniquely.
How many unique hide groups can you set up? You guessed it, nine. And remember, these groups can be used in conjunction with other group settings that you may want to use, or only for this toggle function if all the group settings are disabled. You don’t even really need to name them. Given that the group number shows in the Channel Strip’s Groups field, it can be convincingly argued that seeing the number is actually more useful than an actual name. I’m personally not a huge fan of using groups other than to record enable multiple tracks simultaneously (for my drum kit mics). But I feel like I’ve found a whole new role for them now.
Here are a couple of caveats to be aware of: This function won’t work in a stand alone Mixer window. This is for good reason though. It is linked to the hide status of tracks in the Main Window. That means you can use these key commands with the docked mixer, or even without it, directly in the Tracks Area! That’s right, the key commands will hide the member tracks in the Tracks Area without even having to keep a mixer open. So these really can be thought of as hide groups, having nothing to do with mixing functions if you don’t want them to.
Hopefully you will find these hidden Hide Groups a useful addition to your workflow. If you want to see this in action, along with some other productivity tips, I have a new series of Logic Pro X video tutorials at Groove3 due to be released within the next week or so.